Growing division within PCU could trigger leadership review: political scientist
While many political observers say the division is growing within United Conservative Party circles, some believe a leadership review may be underway for Prime Minister Jason Kenney.
“I think there is a common sense within the party that they don’t want Premier Kenney to lead the party until the next election,” said Lisa Young, a political scientist at the University of Calgary.
Following sweeping restrictions, including rules over a proof of vaccination document announced by Kenney last week, the premier has received criticism from Calgary UCP MP Richard Gotfried, saying the province has not done enough early to implement new measures.
In addition, two former UCP backbenchers, sitting as independents, called for his outright resignation.
“It appears there is a deep division within the UCP caucus over what should be done about the COVID-19 situation,” Young said.
“Premier (Alison) Redford resigned, but the caucus did not have the kind of fundamental internal divisions that the UCP caucus has.”
Young believes that if the UCP caucus votes on a motion of no-confidence from Kenney’s leadership, it could cause further damage to the UCP brand.
“I think strategically for the party, they would do much better to leave the prime minister in charge for the next few months,” Young said.
“Let the Prime Minister take responsibility for the situation we find ourselves in, then move forward with a new leader who can try to put things in place, once the issue between the caucus has been resolved. “
Young suggests that even if the prime minister loses a vote of no confidence, that doesn’t mean he is immediately absent. Kenney could either continue to govern, resign or recall the legislature, triggering a possible early provincial election.
“The Prime Minister might say, ‘The caucus has no authority for me to step down as party leader,” Young said.
“I am Prime Minister and I will continue. We are in the midst of a crisis. Now is not the time to change government. I’m just going to keep going, ”and that saves him time, until he has to bring back the legislature. “
A leadership review can be initiated if at least 22 of Alberta’s ridings request one, or if the party executive votes to hold one at any time. Leadership reviews cannot take place during an election year, which is currently scheduled for 2023.
According to Postmedia, a member of the executive board called for an early review of Kenney’s leadership.
CTV confirmed details with member Joel Mullan, vice president of policy, but declined to comment further.
However, CTV learned that there was considerable internal turmoil to push for a swift management review. The party has yet to respond to our requests for comment.
The United Conservative Party and Prime Minister Jason Kenney’s office have been contacted for comment, but have yet to respond.